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El Nino Is Coming. Do You Need Flood Insurance?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on January 21, 2016 10:08 AM

The El Nino weather system is already wreaking havoc on the nation's roads, and it's just getting started. Some areas of the country are expecting historic amounts of rain and snowfall, and where there is that much precipitation, floods are sure to follow. So are you prepared?

You should already have a homeowner's insurance policy, but does that protect you and your home against floods and natural disasters?

Before the Storm

Flooding can take many forms: everything from hurricanes, torrential rain, and rising rivers to a burst pipe. And the vast majority of homeowner's insurance policies don't cover flood damage from natural disasters. Those policies generally will cover water damage from plumbing malfunctions, however.

Instead, you'll probably have to get flood insurance before you need it. The Federal Emergency Management Agency administers the National Flood Insurance Program, which allows people living in areas where floods are common to purchase a special flood protection policy. (And if your home is located within a Special Flood Hazard Area you may be required to have flood insurance if you have a federally regulated mortgage.)

After the Flood

The total cost of flood insurance through the NFIP may depend on the measures your community has taken to mitigate the risk of flood damage, and you may be required to take steps to protect your home. You can prepare your home for heavy rain by clearing out gutters, checking for leaks, and acquiring sandbags. And you can find instructions for the proper way to stack sandbags and other helpful tips online. And always stay alert for storm and flash flood warnings.

If a flood damages your home or possessions, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible, and try to mitigate any further damage. Dealing with flood damage can be difficult. If you need help finding a flood insurance policy or dealing with your insurance company after a flood, you may want to consult an experienced real estate attorney near you.

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